What You'll Learn

    Little ways to go green in your...
  5. Entry, Basement & Laundry
  6. Living Area
14. Turn your toilet tank blue. Or green or red. Pour food coloring into the water in the tank, wait two hours, then check to to see if any color has seeped into the bowl. If it has, your tank's flapper is leaking, either from mineral buildup or worn parts. After you flush the dye away so it doesn't stain, head to the hardware store for a replacement flapper assembly (then go to thisoldhouse.com for instructions on how to install it). Toilet leaks waste up to a gallon of water per minute. That's more than 43,000 gallons a month.

15. Run the shower. Place a 1-gallon bucket under the running water, then see how long it takes for it to fill up. If it's less than 20 seconds, replace the showerhead with one that sprays 1.5 gallons per minute. That could save as much as 14,600 gallons of water a year—especially if you limit your showers to 10 minutes. It will also save you $22 on your annual water bill, and $150 per year on water heating.

16. Go from scalding to just hot. Turn your water heater's temperature setting down from the standard 140 degrees F to 120 degrees. Not only will this save you some bucks, it'll also slow down mineral buildup and corrosion, prolonging the life of your tank. Since a new water heater costs about $900 installed, each additional year of use saves you money as well.

17. End the water torture. One drip per second from a leaky faucet or pipe can waste up to 5 gallons of water a day—and 1,800 gallons a year. While you won't notice much of an increase on your water bill (around $3 annually), if an overlooked leak soaks through your kitchen floor, you could wind up with a $1,000 repair job—money that could have been saved by simply replacing a 50-cent washer.
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